Welcome to Creators on the Rise, where—in partnership with global creator company Jellysmack—we find and profile breakout creators who are in the midst of extraordinary growth.
Winny Hayes says “I love you” through food.
Tune in to the Atlanta-based creator’s channel, and you can hear the joy in her voice as she introduces almost every video with, “Here’s what my kids are having for lunch!”
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Hayes’ kiddos are eight and nine years old, and her YouTube channel is full of daily Shorts documenting mouthwatering dishes like butternut squash mac and cheese, huli huli chicken, teriyaki meatballs and teriyaki salmon onigiri, and creamy pesto pasta with grilled shrimp skewers. Her quick-bite videos show all these main dishes as well as what Hayes packs alongside them–and sometimes, when meals are particularly popular with viewers (or Hayes simply wants to share more about them), she follows the lunch videos up with clips showing more detailed looks at her recipes.
It was the thought of sharing her recipes that originally inspired Hayes to make a YouTube channel back in 2018.
“I wanted to share easy and fun family-friendly recipes for other families who needed a little inspiration on what to make for lunch and dinner,” she tells Tubefilter. “I always knew that because I have such love for cooking, it would feel natural and authentic to have a page dedicated for that.”
In 2020, Hayes began uploading a series of videos called What My Kids Eat in a Day. They were around five to seven minutes long, and got a few thousand views each. That series laid the groundwork for her Shorts, which brought the same idea to YouTube’s TikTok competitor and sparked major growth for Hayes’ channel.
Hayes uploaded her first Short–about DIY octopus hot dog spaghetti–in April 2021, and it swiftly shot to over a million views. Things only picked up speed from there. Two videos later, she had one reach nearly 10 million views. The one after that? 2.3 million.
Over the past year, Hayes’ buzzy (and tasty) Shorts have grown her channel by nearly a million subscribers, and have taken her to more than 50 million views per month.
Check out our chat with her below.
Tubefilter: Let’s jump right in! For those who may not know you, give us a little introduction. Who are you and where are you from?
Winny Hayes: My name is Winny Hayes, I am a wife and mom of two boys (age 8 and 9). I am Indonesian, but I was raised in Atlanta, where I currently reside with my family.
Tubefilter: What did you get up to before starting a YouTube channel?
WH: Before YouTube, I was just a stay-at-home mom who loved to cook and hang out with my kids.
Tubefilter: What inspired you to start a YouTube channel? Did you know immediately what kind of videos you wanted to make, or did you figure that out over time?
WH: When I started YouTube, I wanted to share my life as a mom and wife with a passion for cooking. I wanted to share easy and fun family-friendly recipes for other families who needed a little inspiration on what to make for lunch and dinner. I always knew that because I have such love for cooking, it would feel natural and authentic to have a page dedicated for that.
Tubefilter: The food you make every day is genuinely incredible. What fostered your love of cooking?
WH: One of the best things in life is food! I have a genuine interest on what other people eat, how to make it, and I also love the reaction I get when people are enjoying the food I made. I love to experiment in the kitchen and the best part of it all is that I get to eat.
Tubefilter: How do you come up with recipe ideas?
WH: I am not really sure how these recipes come to me, I am just inspired by life and the things around me. Oftentimes, my recipes came from what I have available in my kitchen. I love to make things that my kids are familiar with but make it more interesting. I am also influenced by the different restaurants I was fortunate to visit in my travels.
Tubefilter: What does the average day look like for you? What’s your routine for filming while going about your daily meal-making? How much time do filming and editing take you?
WH: My day starts pretty early. I wake up and the first thing I do is work out. Fitness is my other passion; I need that to start my day as much as I need my coffee. Then I shower and get ready to start my day.
I film my lunchbox videos in the morning before my kids go to school. This used to be hectic, but my kids are older now, so they don’t need much help in the morning, and my husband is in charge to help them with breakfast. This ensures that I am uninterrupted when filming lunchbox videos. I typically film two recipe videos on most days and I just edit throughout the day. I am getting better with having a schedule and designated time slot for editing.
Tubefilter: Is content creation your full-time job? What else do you get up to outside of making videos?
WH: I am full-time content creator. But I do try to have a balanced life and not spend too much time filming and being on social media. Most days I test some recipes in the kitchen—this is my favorite thing to do. But I also make sure that I spend time taking care of myself, I love working out, taking fitness classes, or just spending time outdoors. This is great not only physically but mentally as well. Of course, I also spend time with family and friends. Life can get pretty busy sometimes, but I love it.
Tubefilter: What’s your favorite part of being on YouTube?
WH: My favorite part about YouTube is the connection I have with people. I try my best to answer every single question and respond to comments as much as I can. I have a genuine interest in what people think or how they feel about watching my videos. I have learned so much about different cultures, traditions, and food from all over the world. I love that people are so willing to share these things with me.
One of the best compliments I have ever received was how much they appreciate that I respond and engage with others. I really try my best to communicate with everyone.
Tubefilter: You recently hit a million subscribers, which is a big milestone. Was that something you ever thought you’d achieve?
WH: Hitting one million on YouTube was incredible, I would have never imagined that I would meet this milestone. I’m just a mom sharing recipes on YouTube, but it has been a great journey so far. But the thing is, numbers are not what motivates me. My passion and hard work will still be here no matter what the number is. Becoming a better content creator and challenging myself is what gets me going. Don’t get me wrong, seeing my numbers climb every day feels pretty good too!
Tubefilter: Do you have any upcoming plans? Cool projects in the works? Let us know!
WH: I am currently at the beginning stage of a pretty cool project, but I am going to wait until it gets a little further before I share. But you’ll be the first to know!
Jellysmack is the global creator company that powers multi-platform social media growth for video creators, media companies, brands, celebrities, and its own online communities (Beauty Studio, Oh My Goal, Gamology, House of Bounce and more). The company’s proprietary technology optimizes, distributes, and promotes video content, resulting in meaningful audience growth and increased revenue in record time. Jellysmack is currently partnered with hundreds of talented creators including MrBeast, PewDiePie, Like Nastya, and Bailey Sarian. Looking to Go Bigger on social? Visit jellysmack.com.